The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of internet access. Unfortunately, people around the country have struggled to work from home, get education, or even stay informed about the crisis itself.
Without a reliable internet connection, it’s nearly impossible to do any of these things. As a result, many Americans have been forced to make tough choices during these unprecedented times, such as cutting back on food and other necessities to keep their internet running.
Furthermore, the crisis has shown that the U.S. is not equipped with the infrastructure to support everyone in having adequate broadband service in their homes — a problem known as the digital divide.
During the recent pandemic, lawmakers and the private sector have made moves to help expand broadband access. For example, the FCC launched a new emergency telehealth program to help healthcare providers connect with patients via telemedicine platforms.
It also called telecommunications companies to waive late fees, suspend service terminations, and open up Wi-Fi hotspots for public use.
Accessibility and affordability are two primary factors contributing to the digital divide. Unfortunately, both are particularly problematic in rural areas; that’s why many people face difficulty accessing the internet in rural areas.
Step 1: Find A Champion
Broadband solutions differ significantly from community to community, it’s essential to have at least one champion on your side who is passionate about getting better service for their residents.
It could be a lawmaker, community leader, or telecommunications executive.
Step 2: Determine Your Resources
Communities have unique resources and connections, so the path to improving their broadband service differs wildly. Gathering your community’s help is the first step in finding solutions that work best for you.
Are there any libraries, schools, or hospitals with high-speed internet access in your community?
These are valuable resources to have on your side when advocating for better broadband service. If not, reach out to local businesses and see if they’d be interested in partnering with you to improve broadband service in your community.
Step 3: Identify the Problem
Once you’ve gathered your resources, it’s time to identify the specific problems your community is facing regarding broadband access.
Are people unable to work from home because of slow speeds or lack of service? Are students unable to do their schoolwork online because of insufficient bandwidth? Is there a lack of Wi-Fi hotspots in your community?
Step 4: Create a Solution
Once you’ve identified the problems, it’s time to create a solution. Again, it is where your community’s resources come in handy. If you have a library, school, or hospital with high-speed internet access, see if they’d be willing to open up their networks for public use.
You could also work with local businesses to create Wi-Fi hotspots in your community. If you’re having trouble getting broadband providers to listen to your concerns, reach out to your state or federal lawmakers. They may help by putting pressure on telecommunications companies to improve service in your community.
Step 5: Research on Other Communities
After you have developed a plan, it may be helpful to research what other communities have done to improve their broadband service.
The national broadband map is an excellent resource for finding information on broadband speeds and availability in different parts of the country.
Step 6: Look into Emerging Technologies.
Finally, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on the latest broadband technologies. Some communities are experimenting with new technologies like wireless gigabit service and community broadband networks.
Look for these solutions, as they could help improve broadband access in your community. Spectrum chat offers customer support around the clock; give them a call and learn about their high-tech internet, TV, and phone deals.
Community engagement is vital when it comes to improving broadband access. By staying in communication with your community and keeping them updated on the progress you’re making, you are more likely to get their support.
There are several ways for communities with limited or inadequate broadband services to advocate for themselves. First, it may be necessary to work with lawmakers or telecommunications companies to look for mutual solutions.
By gathering your community’s resources and identifying the specific problems regarding broadband access, you can work together to improve your community’s internet service.